Arab Americans trace ancestry to any of the various waves of immigrants of the countries comprising the Arab World. Arab Americans and Muslim overlap each other but they distinct from each other. Majority of Arab Americans aren’t Muslims. Both Arab and American cultures could never agree on main points and have been a source of conflict through the history of the world. Arab culture often embraces Islam and they make use of the Arabic language.
There have been laws put into place to prevent racial profiling based on an individuals religion or religious appearance in four states, Alaska, California, Massachusetts and Arkansas. (Racial Profiling, 2009) Orientalism is a demeaning point of view a person, often from the western hemisphere, has towards individuals from Asian or Arabic Middle Eastern decent. A couple examples of characteristics are mysteriousness and religious extremism. The number of hates crimes towards Muslims and Arabs have risen since the 9/11 attacks. People are often judged and immediately associated with terrorist groups simply by looking a certain way.
Americans know “racial profiling is both morally wrong and ineffective”, but they rather be safe than sorry (Chavez 563). Americans only get the idea that all middle easterners are terrorists because media has taken the role of portraying them in such a way to plants terror in Americans (Spurlock). People have gotten to the point of people being “singled out” because of looking certain way or because people around them feel uncomfortable (Chavez 569).
It is a religion that is growing in popularity. There are Muslim communities in Europe and the United States. There are also Muslim communities in China. Arabs come from the country of Saudi Arabia while the majority is Muslim, it is possible to be a citizen of Saudi Arabia and not be Muslim, just as it is possible to be a citizen of the United States and not be Christian. Due to the violence and extremism of a few members of Islam, people of Middle Eastern origins or members of Islam have been subjected to increased hostility in the United States.
When we first think of Muslims we think of bomb throwing, gun carrying, Taliban crazed murderers, unless you’re a politician then you say the second, more people-pleasing thing that comes to mind. Undeniably, the common belief in America is that all Arabs are Muslims, therefore all Muslims are terrorists, therefore women's rights get thrown out of the window, and thereby the Islamic religion is bad. Yet, Muslim culture and the Islamic religion have some extraordinarily, beautiful traits but are sadly overshadowed by all the negative. Stereotypes bombard us everyday but the most overlying stereotype is that Arabs are all the same, and it has been programmed into our nation’s youth. It’s like the prejudice our parents were raised to have
Therefore, it can be said that religion can be used as a form of cultural defence against the rapidly increasing West. The use of religion as a cultural defence is very evident in modern times with the rise of Fundamentalism. Those from ethnic minorities opposing Western values so much that they are willing to kill others and themselves to prove this. The clash of civilisations has been evident between Islam and the West for hundreds of years but became known throughout the world after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Fundamentalists are using religion to defend their culture in a negative way and have thus created a stigma for ethnic minorities.
While the scare is over terrorism rather than communism, the principle is the same. Out of this terror, paranoia, fear, and general discomfort, historians tend to draw a more positive light to shine through the darkness of the age. The terrorist attack on the twin towers on September 11th was one spark that started the fire against terrorism. People, primarily men of Middle Eastern descent are the new subjects of discrimination - in the eyes of the fear-ridden American they are possible terrorist threats. The country, just like in the 1950’s – nearly 60 years prior was, and is sold on fear.
Jihad is supposed to be an internal struggle however; people often confuse it with an external struggle in which they use violence for dominance. “Despite the fact that Jihad is not supposed to include aggressive warfare, this has occurred. Jihad means to counter such threats and assert the predominance of Islam.” Intercollegiate Review; Spring2002, Vol. 37 Issue 2, p24-32, 9p Just and Unjust War in the Terrorist Age. Many people consider Jihad to be a movement which causes a problem in the Muslim community because of the misinterpretation of the religious beliefs.
Christianity for example has many different types of people like Catholics, Protestants among others. I find it interesting how there are similarities among different religions but most of the time they only see their differences in order to condemn each other and prove they are the only “right” one. Christianity caught my attention because as Stearns says how coverts brought religion, the Latin writing system, and different artistic and intellectual instruments associated with Roman Christianity. Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism are major religions around the world and millions of people practice them. An important factor for Christianity to be known around the world was the connection that Europe had with the Americas.
Many individuals in the United States including Middle-Eastern males have been a subject to racial profiling. Racial profiling has increased dramatically since September 11th, 2001 and Homeland Security has deliberately wasted valuable time and resources when profiling ethic individuals of terrorist activities. As the director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office Caroline Fredrickson once said, “Racial and ethnic profiling are not only wrong, but they don’t work. The time and resources spent by DHS rounding up, interrogating and investigating innocent American immigrants could have been spent dealing with actual threats to our country” (ACLU). Another type of racial profiling occurred when Homeland Security and law enforcement officials passed a law indicating U.S citizenship was one of a job requirement for certain job position.